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Major Buxton art donation to VCA

12 Feb 2015

Major Buxton art donation to VCA Image

In a significant act of arts philanthropy, property developer and art collector Michael Buxton has donated his private contemporary Australian art collection to the Victorian College of the Arts in Southbank.

Featuring more than 300 works by 53 of the country’s most significant Australian contemporary artists, Mr Buxton announced the donation of his cherished collection in December.

The collection will be housed and showcased in a new purpose-built museum – The Michael Buxton Centre of Contemporary Art (MBCOCA), which will be located on the corner of Southbank Boulevard and Dodds St.

The donation also includes funds towards the construction and endowment of the museum and its operation over 20 years, with the centre expected to be officially unveiled in 2017.

Mr Buxton said he and his family had always dreamt the collection would serve as an educational resource to help foster an appreciation for contemporary Australian art.

“Donating the collection to an internationally-recognised institution will ensure its longevity for years to come and help facilitate the future advancement of visual arts in Australia,” he said.

“It’s pleasing to know the museum will form a part of the curriculum for a wide range of courses and play a central role in the education of future generations of students.”

The donation and formation of the museum in the centre of the Southbank precinct will enhance the university’s curriculums across disciplines, fostering an innovative approach to student learning.

Featuring works from some of the country’s most significant artists, including Howard Arkley, Ricky Swallow, Tracy Moffat, Patricia Piccinini, Emily Floyd and Bill Henson, Mr Buxton said the collection reflected a lifelong passion for collecting art.

“The first piece of art I bought was in 1974 – it was a work by Jeffery Smart called Sunday in Rome. I still have it,” he said.

“As a property developer, I’ve always loved creating things and been fascinated with the creative process and collecting art is another expression of this creativity.”

Upon accepting the donation, University of Melbourne vice-chancellor Prof Glyn Davis thanked Mr Buxton for helping forge a “wonderful partnership” with the university.

“We believe the impact of this gift will be profound, enhancing the Southbank precinct’s position as the heart of Melbourne cultural life,” he said.

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